[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
For §§ 1-110 (Chapters 1-18), see here.
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 126
Chapter 20 (3 of 8): Trial – Phase Two
Mazarine perceives a queasy lurch in her stomach and does not feel like eating any of the delicacies that the kitchen at Wu, Hsien, Blair & Balthazar are setting out on the table in the room the defense has commandeered in the courthouse for the duration of the trial. She is deeply disturbed, both by the facile conviction with which Yukiko has poisoned the minds of the jurors against her and by the incomprehensible way she has inverted all the facts of their relationship and attacked her personally. She even find herself more than a little miffed at Natalie, who acts as if their side doesn’t have a care in the world.
Mazarine is not sanguine about her prospects and keeps to herself while Danny and Natalie chat up the trial.
In the corridor outside the courtroom before the commencement of the afternoon session Mazarine and Yukiko periodically run into each other in the milling mass of lawyers, witnesses, personnel, media and court junkies. Mazarine warily eyes her former lover; Yukiko’s eyes are afloat with mockery and derision, and a cold smile plays around her mouth.
Next to the judge’s podium a bailiff announces that court is in session. Everybody sits down and settles in, and the hubbub dies down.
“Mr. Kerzy, your next witness.”
Kerzy rises, shoots his cuffs and buttons and unbuttons his coat, and announces grandly, “The state rests, Your Honor.”
The room stirs.
“Thank you, Your Honor. We have one witness.”
Mazarine happens to have turned her head to see if Yukiko is in the audience; she sees her sitting about five or six rows back in an aisle seat.
“The defense calls Ms. Su Lien Rhaman,” Natalie says.
At the mention of this name people turn to each other with questioning looks and a subdued buzzing. And a remarkable transformation comes over Yukiko’s face. Her bright arrogance that had been on such conspicuous display all day vanishes like the sun behind a dark cloud; Yukiko turns ashen, and her whole face seems to implode. And then she makes a dreadful blunder. Thoroughly unnerved by the wholly unexpected development now unfolding behind her as the new witness is let in at the back of the room, Yukiko gets up and proceeds to slip out.
Almost precisely at the point where Su Lien Rahman and Yukiko are about to pass each other, the judge booms out, “Bailiff, please escort Ms. Darling back to her seat and make sure that she remains in this court. She is still a witness under oath, and may be recalled to the stand.” A burly female bailiff makes a move towards Yukiko and motions for her to return to her seat. By this time every eye is on the beautiful prosecution witness trying to sneak out of the courtroom like some furtive thief in the night, and she has called an unnecessary attention to herself that, to judge from the looks of incredulity on their faces, has done her little good with the jury.
In the meantime Su Lien Rahman has captivated the courtroom’s heart. Her dusky beauty is of an exotic sort, enhanced by her colorful dress and willowy demureness. Before she can be sworn in Kerzy is almost pounding his table and yelling, “Your Honor, Your Honor, the defense can’t spring a surprise witness on us at this late hour. We are being bushwhacked.”
“Bushwhacked, Mr. Kerzy?” the judge asks, her brows raised in surprised interrogation.
“Yes, Your Honor. Bushwhacked. Blind-sided.”
“I don’t think so, sir. Have you examined the witness list supplied by the defense during discovery?”
“Yes, we have.” But he doesn’t sound quite so forceful. “But, Your Honor, there were over six hundred names on that list,” he says petulantly.
“Well … this witness … ” Buzulethi is tugging at his sleeve and running a silvered nail beneath the name of the witness on page five of their list, “ … this witness is from … Sandakan. In Malaysia. We don’t have the resources to seek out a witness like that.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Kerzy,” Lombard-Golde lied smoothly, “I see no procedural violations here.”
“Your Honor, I don’t even know where … where Sandakan is.”
Kerzy is listening to the hurried whisperings of his other co-counsel, Jin-Soon, and registers a look of disbelief.
“Your Honor,” he says with exasperation, “this is in North-East Borneo, for heaven’s sake!”
“Yes, Mr. Kerzy. That is correct,” the judge says blithely. “It seems Mr. Yook is quite up on his geography.”
Titters spool up. This time the judge makes no effort to chastise the courtroom.
The cameras keep rolling.
Natalie has remained serenely aloof from this dirty dancing, smiling steadily at Su Lien Rahman.
Mazarine’s face is calmly non-committal, but inside she is thrilled beyond her wildest fanatsies. At last she begins truly to think she may beat this false accusation. And she offers up a silent prayer to Agung, the wonderful Sultan of Java, whose powerful hand she feels certain has pulled more than one string to launch this latest bombshell. That must have been what the phone call Natalie got was all about.
“Clerk of court, please swear in this witness,” the judge says. The slope of Kerzy’s shoulders tell a tale of defeat.
Su Lien Rahman is preternaturally exquisite. The courtroom has somehow a collective sense of this and with heightened expectations awaits her testimony.
Natalie Siu has stepped up towards the witness box but leaves considerable space between herself and the witness. “Good afternoon, Ms. Rhaman,” she says.
“Good afternoon,” Su Like answers softly.
“Ms. Rahman,” the judge peers down at her, “please pull that microphone closer to your mouth and speak directly into it.” She smiles encouragingly.
“Yes, ma’am, of course.” She does as instructed.
“Now, Ms. Rahman, can you tell us if you know the defendant, Mazarine Cape.”
“No, I do not.”
“And you’ve never met her before?”
“Do you know a woman named Yukiko Darling?”
“Yes. But when I knew her the last name was Yukiko Mizushima.”
“How did you find out about this trial?”
“I was in Los Angeles briefly and a good friend of mine called my attention to an article about this trial in the paper. Mr. Darling, her former husband, had been introduced to me in Japan when he visited Yukiko in Osaka.”
“And when was it that you knew Yukiko?”
“I knew her in the mid-eighties, in 1986 and 1987.”
“And where was that?”
“In Osaka, Japan. We were both foreign students there.”
“What was your relationship to her?”
“We … we were roommates and … and lovers.”
This time the judge bangs her gavel when the courtroom is sparked to life at the prurient innuendo lurking in this salacious revelation. “There will be order in this court. If necessary, I will clear the room.” She blares, leaving no room for doubt about the validity of her intentions. “Counsel may continue,” she instructs Natalie.
“Thank you, Your Honor.” She turns to face Su Lien.
“How long did the two of you live together?”
“About ten months or so.”
“Can you tell us, in your own words, something about this relationship. Give us the flavor so to speak of your daily life together.”
TO BE CONTINUED